Critical analysis of methods for the measurement of volatile fatty acids

Rodrigo Fernández, Richard M. Dinsdale*, Alan J. Guwy, Giuliano C. Premier

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Volatile fatty acids are formed during microbial fermentation of organic matter and are present in a wide range of matrices, i.e., wastewater, landfill leachates, human and animal fluids, food, and environmental systems. Therefore, their quantification and speciation is important in the analysis of such natural systems. The difference in nature and complexity of the matrices has resulted in the development and publication of a great number of procedures for volatile fatty acid determination. This review gives an overview of sample preparation, separation conditions, and suitable detectors for each separation technique with a comparison of the limits of detection and the linear dynamic ranges attainable.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)209-234
Number of pages26
JournalCritical Reviews in Environmental Science and Technology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2016


  • capillary electrophoresis
  • gas chromatography
  • limits of detection
  • linear dynamic range
  • liquid chromatography
  • sample preparation
  • volatile fatty acids


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